banned words 2007 list

Lake Superior State University is Michigan’s smallest public university with an enrollment of 3,000 students. It is known for its academic programs such as fisheries and wildlife management, engineering, teacher education, nursing, criminal justice, fire science and business management. Located in Sault Ste. Marie on the eastern end of Lake Superior, there’s not much to do once winter sets in, so on Dec. 31, 1975, former LSSU Public Relations Director Bill Rabe and some colleagues cooked up the idea to banish overused words and phrases and issued the first list on New Year’s Day. The list has stayed the course into a fourth decade.

Through the years, LSSU received thousands of nominations for the list, which is closing in on its 1000th banishment. This year’s list is culled from more than 4,500 nominations received mostly through the university’s website. Word-watchers target pet peeves from everyday speech, as well as from the news, fields of education, technology, advertising, politics and more. A committee makes a final cut in late December. The list is released on New Year’s Day.

So gitmo chipotle-flavored eggnog, curl up with an undocumented alien, and cut-and-run to the 2007 list. It won’t be coming to a theater near you.

Below is the list for 2007. To read all the comments (which are pretty funny in themselves), go to (you can even add your own comments)!

GITMO—The US military’s shorthand for a base in Cuba drives a wedge wider than a split infinitive.

COMBINED CELEBRITY NAMES—Celebrity duos of yore—BogCall (Bogart and Bacall), Lardy (Laurel and Hardy), and CheeChong (Cheech and Chong)—just got lucky.

AWESOME—Given a one-year moratorium in 1984, when the Unicorn Hunters banished it “during which it is to be rehabilitated until it means ‘fear mingled with admiration or reverence; a feeling produced by something majestic.” Many write to tell us there’s no hope and it’s time for “the full banishment.”

GONE/WENT MISSING—“It makes ‘missing’ sound like a place you can visit, such as the Poconos. Is the person missing, or not? She went there but maybe she came back. ‘Is
missing’ or ‘was missing’ would serve us better.”—Robin Dennis, Flower Mound, Texas.

PWN or PWNED—Thr styff of lemgendz: Gamer defeats gamer, types in “I pwn you” rather than I OWN you. (I have to admit: I never, ever heard of this. But then, I’m not a gamer.)

NOW PLAYING IN THEATERS—Heard in movie advertisements. Where can we see that, again? “How often do movies premiere in laundromats or other places besides theaters? I know that when I want to see a movie I think about going to a shoe store.”—Andrea May, Shreveport, Louisiana.

WE’RE PREGNANT—Grounded for nine months.

UNDOCUMENTED ALIEN—“If they haven’t followed the law to get here, they are by definition ‘illegal.’ It’s like saying a drug dealer is an ‘undocumented pharmacist.’”—John Varga, Westfield, New Jersey.

ARMED ROBBERY/DRUG DEAL GONE BAD—From the news reports. What degree of “bad” don’t we understand? Larry Lillehammer of Bonney Lake, Washington, asks, “After it stopped going well and good?”

TRUTHINESS – “This word, popularized by The Colbert Report and exalted by the American Dialectic Society’s Word of the Year in 2005 has been used up. What used to ring true is getting all the truth wrung out of it.”—Joe Grimm, Detroit, Michigan.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR—The chewable vitamin morphine of marketing.

CHIPOTLE – Smoked dry over medium heat.

i-ANYTHING—‘e-Anything’ made the list in 2000. Geoff Steinhart of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, says tech companies everywhere have picked this apple to the core. “Turn on ... tune in ... and drop out.”

SEARCH—Quasi-anachronism. Placed on one-year moratorium. “Might as well banish it. The word has been replaced by ‘google.’”—Michael Raczko, Swanton, Ohio.

HEALTHY FOOD—Point of view is everything. Someone told Joy Wiltzius of Fort Collins, Colorado, that the tuna steak she had for lunch “sounded healthy.” Her reply: “If my lunch were healthy, it would still be swimming somewhere. Grilled and nestled in salad greens, it’s ‘healthful.’”

BOASTS—See classified advertisements for houses, says Morris Conklin of Lisboa, Portugal, as in “master bedroom boasts his-and-her fireplaces—never ‘bathroom apologizes for cracked linoleum,’ or ‘kitchen laments pathetic placement of electrical outlets.’”

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